The Contract Surgeon: A Novel (Paperback)
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Winner of the Western Heritage Award, this beautifully crafted historical novel from one of the West’s most popular writers tells the true story of the friendship between Valentine McGillycuddy, a young doctor plucked from his prestigious medical career and newly married wife to serve in the army during the Great Sioux War, and the fearsome chief Crazy Horse. When Crazy Horse finally agrees to surrender to the United States, mistrust and treachery on both sides generate further conflict, and he is gravely wounded. McGillycuddy declares the chief his patient and struggles through a long night to keep his spirit alive.
Set in the sprawling Great Plains during the most tragic period in its history, this tale of bravery, justice, and love weaves a tapestry of time and events into the account of a single day—the last in the life of Crazy Horse—to reveal the secrets surrounding America’s past.
About the Author
Dan O’Brien is the author of numerous novels and memoirs, including Buffalo for the Broken Heart: Restoring Life to a Black Hills Ranch, winner of the Western Heritage Award for best nonfiction in 2001 and selected as the 2009 One Book South Dakota winner. His books Stolen Horses, Equinox, and The Indian Agent are available from the University of Nebraska Press.
“This powerful story is a thinking man’s western, in which action is secondary to O’Brien’s nuanced exploration of character and the tragic dimensions of a morally fraught conflict.”—Publishers Weekly
— Publishers Weekly
“Draws a vivid portrait of Crazy Horse and gives an interesting, fresh perspective on the Great Sioux War.”—Larry McMurtry, author of Lonesome Dove
— Larry McMurtry
“Impeccably researched.”—New York Times
— New York Times
“The Contract Surgeon is an eerie, harrowing novel with terrifying implications. There is the aura that the ghosts of the Sioux made him write this book. It is lucid and harsh, and deftly avoids the sentimentality that mars novels that deal with our first citizens. The Contract Surgeon should bring O’Brien to the wide audience he deserves.”—Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall
— Jim Harrison
“A thoughtful work of fiction about historical and psychological frontiers.”—National Public Radio
— National Public Radio
“An intriguing, well-written, down-to-earth medical western.”—Booklist